Turn That Noise Down - Fairground Attraction


So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1988 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week Susan fondly remembers The First of A Million Kisses...

Eddi Reader has been in and around my listening for many years because of her superb interpretations of Celtic folk music and traditional standards – if you get a chance, listen to her work on the songs of Robert Burns, it is absolutely sublime – but this nearly-chart-topping album from 1988 was where she first came to my attention, as the voice of Fairground Attraction.

Twelve tracks of original music make up The First of a Million Kisses, eleven of which were written by their guitarist Mark E Nevin (with Whispers being by Ms Reader herself). The two huge hit singles from the band, Perfect and Find My Love, are here but the rest of the album is also not to be dismissed.

The album opens with the laid back jazz-infused acoustic A Smile in a Whisper, followed perfectly by the boppy Perfect. Moon in the Rain walks the balance between melancholy and uplifting and a calypso summer breeze follows with Find My Love. The band’s eponymous track Fairground Attraction is a superb song in a minor key that makes amazing use of the carousel waltz for its melody to tell a story that sounds like it should be part of a West End show and is probably my favourite track on the album. Next comes the blue-grass ballad The Wind Knows My Name followed by a minor hit single Clare that sounds like it would be at home being performed by a trio in a smoky jazz bar. The Comedy Waltz harks back to the melancholy and then we’re back to the swing-band sound of The Moon is Mine. The sultry mood of nightclub blues of Station Street is brightened by the light latin beat of Whispers and the album is rounded out by a drunk-at-the-end-of-the-night, pals-with-everyone, slush-fest in Allelujah (no, before you say, not a cover of anyone else’s track of the same name).

So a great album to put on to get you swaying in your seat and give a lift to your spirits. There’s such a variety of genres from acoustic country to nightclub jazz that pretty much guarantees you’ll like something on here, especially if you like the singles, but every song suits Eddi Reader’s amazing voice down to the ground. As for a song from the album to end this article with though, it’s got to be-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eeee…



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